Panto Rapunzel (and Zombies)

When an actor “lays an egg onstage,” it’s usually not a good thing. For Panto Rapunzel (and Zombies), currently at Stages Repertory Theatre, however, it’s one of the highlights of the show. Director Josh Morrison tells us that, along with Rapunzel, the family musical includes a frog that paints, an evil governor and a goose that regularly lays golden eggs onstage. “Our props department made an apparatus that allows her to lay ostrich-size golden eggs onstage,” he says. “[The woman who plays the goose], who’s a wonderfully comedic physical actress, has found various ways to lay these eggs. One time she’s goes into labor; another time it just falls out. It leaves us all on the floor every time she does it.”

An original production written by Joseph Blanchard and Jodi Bobrovsky, Rapunzel is an over-the-top musical take on the familiar fairy tale. Rapunzel’s still locked away in a tower, but this time it’s a tiny office where she does the accounting for her family business, The Big Patootie Corporation. Rapunzel’s mother and aunt, Ima and Ura Biggenbottom, run the company and one of them has been illegally siphoning to support an evil politician. It’s up to Rapunzel, her friend The Frog Formerly Known as Prince, and a few others to put a stop to it.

So how exactly do the zombies fit in? “Oh, zombies are just fun,” Morrison says. The zombies, he’s quick to tell us, aren’t bad. “They’re singing and dancing zombies. More Tim Burton-esque than Walking Dead.”

While this is a holiday show of sorts, there aren’t any Christmas songs in the score. Instead, pop and blues tunes, including some by Michael Jackson and Ray Charles, have been reworked to suit the plot. The evil governor character (a satire of our state’s sitting governor) sings Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman” about the Biggenbottom sister who’s illegally contributing to his political campaign. For Panto Rapunzel (and Zombies), “I Got a Woman” becomes “I Got a Woman Who’s Helping Me Fund My Project.”

7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Through January 4. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713‑527‑0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $21 to $100.
Wednesdays-Fridays, 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Dec. 4. Continues through Jan. 4, 2014

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Olivia Flores Alvarez